MMI's DSO fine-tunes graduates, and dealers who hire them

Publish Date: 
Jan 10, 2013
By Dave Koshollek


All tasks were derived from the work entry-level techs perform in the first six months of Harley-Davidson dealership employment. Harley-Davidson University (HDU) and MMI co-developed the curriculum.

Class size is 14 students max, so instructors can accurately monitor all activities. There is no screwing around and no student inactivity because everyone is dead-serious about the outcome of their testing. The primary focus is to pass DSO with the best score possible to make one more desirable for dealership employment.

There’s a bonus for students who have completed all 49 HDU PHD online training programs prior to DSO. If they pass DSO too, and are hired by a Harley dealer, they achieve “Technician Level” status in HDU’s Technician Recognition Program.

If a student uses a tool improperly or performs a procedure incorrectly, he or she loses 10 points for each infraction. Just two little mistakes, and you're right on the threshold of failure.

DSO is a difficult course. Students must achieve a minimum of 80 percent overall to pass, which, for technical grading, includes scoring on the correct completion of all assigned tasks within the allotted time (usually 80 percent of flat rate), using all tools properly, correctly completing the repair order following standard operating service procedures, and adherence to all safety practices. Mess up in any way and you’ll receive a reduction in points.

For example, if a student used a tool improperly or performed a procedure incorrectly, he or she loses 10 points for each infraction. Just two little mistakes, and you’re right on the threshold of failure. Scoring in the Consultant and Coordinator positions is similarly strict and extremely valuable to their career.

Several students have discovered they should apply for a service support position rather than a technician one because that’s where their natural talents reside. This reduces the mismatch of skills in the field.

I predict MMI’s DSO program will dramatically improve the quality of MMI H-D graduate performance, make it easier for dealers to assess graduates during the interview process, and increase the pool of individuals who are willing and able to work in a number of service department positions.

Will DSO eliminate all MMI complaints? No, unfortunately there’s at least one bozo on every bus — just don’t blame the driver now, because the program and the process are spot-on.

This column originally appeared in the January 2013 issue of Dealernews.